Make May Purple – What is a stroke and how you can spot the signs

Elderly man holding his head with his hands

Every year, the Stroke Association holds Make May Purple, a day to raise awareness of the effects of a stroke and raise funds for vital research.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many charities have seen a significant drop in their fundraising, including Stroke Association. This charitable income supports the innovative research that helps care and support for those living with the effects of a stroke and help to rebuild lives.

This year’s theme for Make May Purple and Stroke Awareness Month is ‘Save Research. Rebuild Lives’ to highlight the importance of stroke research and the impact the pandemic has occurred on the charity.

What is a stroke?

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. This restriction of blood to the brain leads to brain cells dying. There are two main causes of a stroke; ischaemic (where the blood supply is stopped due to a blood clot) and haemorrhagic (where weak blood vessels within the brain burst).

A Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke, can occur when the blood supplying the brain is interrupted and can last from a few minutes to up to 24 hours. This is usually seen as a warning sign at an increased risk of a full stroke.

Who is at risk of a stroke?

The risk of a stroke is increased if someone has certain health conditions, for example, high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol. The risk can be accelerated by smoking, obesity or excessive alcohol intake.

A stroke can happen at any time, affecting anyone at any age. One in four strokes in the UK happens to people who are of working age.

How to spot the signs of a stroke

The main signs of a stroke can be spotted using the FAST test.

F – Face – Has their face fallen on one side?

A – Arms – Are they able to lift and hold their arms up?

S – Speech – Is their speech slurred?

T – Time – call 999 immediately

How research supports stroke survivors

The research supported by the Stroke Association has helped to recognise the signs of a stroke and find new and improved treatments. It has helped to improve the support and advice provided to those who have suffered a stroke and their families, as well as fund research to prevent a stroke from happening.

To find out more about how you can support a loved one after a stroke, please visit the Stroke Association website where you can find information, resources and stories from survivors.

At Heritage Healthcare Epsom, we provide home care and support services to help more people remain living independently and comfortably at home for longer. Find out more about how we can support you and your family by visiting the ‘Our Services’ page or you can contact our friendly team by clicking here.

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